Forklift battery maintenance is one of the most common aspects of keeping your forklift in good working condition. It’s essential to your warehouse and workplace operations and you do not want to deal with damages emitted from a flat forklift battery. At the same time, you will not want to deal with flat batteries induced from bad forklift battery maintenance either.
It’s best that you stick to forklift maintenance protocol when you are looking into a flat forklift battery.
Ways to Maintain Forklift Batteries
Here are some ways that you can maintain a forklift battery.
1. Charging your forklift batteries
It’s a known fact that batteries need charging every now and then. They do have a finite number of cycles when it comes to get charged. A forklift battery is no different. Try not to charge your forklift batteries out of convenience as it can easily shorten the battery life.
Some guides online will advise you to charge your forklift battery when it reaches 30% power level. Sometimes, you can be advised to charge the forklift batteries after an 8 hour shift, which usually is a “full day’s work”. Again, don’t overcharge it as it can shorten its life.
Take note that when you charge the forklift batteries, let it charge up to 100% before unplugging it. If you take it off before it reaches the 100% mark too frequently, it can also affect the longevity of the battery.
At the same time, don’t charge the forklift battery for too long. Ideally, it’s best to let it charge for a few hours to 1 day maximum. According to this article, it says that it can develop hard sulfation, which decreases the battery’s quality run time. It can also bring long term irreparable damage to the battery and shorten its life.
2. Maintain proper battery fluid levels
Check the fluids in your forklift’s battery as the right amount is important for it to function to its full capacity. The suggested check-up is about every 4-5 charging cycles. When checking the fluid levels, see if there is sufficient water to cover the plastic battery element. Check every cell as checking 1 or 2 may not be enough. If there are any cells that has less than the recommended water level, top it off.
Advisably, it’s best for you to top the water levels off every 10 charges or so. This is only applicable if they are brand new. Also, they should only be filled when they are fully charged.
Try not to overfill it too as the battery may need some additional spaces to include expansion when the forklift is functioning. The recommended battery pH levels should be between 5 and 7, which is the recommended battery levels of impurities. Some people will advise you to use distilled water but then you should check the manual just to make sure.
3. Having a designated charging station
Many companies that use forklifts will strongly advise you to have a charging station just for your forklift batteries. And for good reasons too. In this area, it should have clear signage, available water supply, ventilation, fire extinguisher, and a phone for emergencies.
Standard workplace rules apply though:
- No smoking near the designated battery charging area
- Try not to wear metal jewelries while recharging batteries
- Wear appropriate PPE
- Position forklifts properly and apply breaks before charging its batteries
- Among other safety precautions
4. Watering solutions
We have talked about the watering levels before, but there’s also the matter of watering solutions. According to this article, it’s advised forklift owners to use only distilled water and deionized water added to their batteries. Again, as forklift owners you should check the manual for each forklift that needs battery attention.
At the same time, forklift owners are advised that the electrolyte levels must be kept between the high watering level and the separator protectors. Do not fill the batteries until at least at the end of the charging cycles.
Also take note that you should not overfill the batteries. One way to tell if the battery has been filled is to see if there are moistures on the battery’s top. If there is water on top of it, it means that it has been overfilled. Again, if you do not understand or are unsure of what batteries to use, bring your forklift to a spare parts store for help.
5. Don’t switch out batteries mid-charges
Most long-time forklift users will advise you to charge the batteries when it reaches the 20-30% level. Try not to charge the battery at 40% to 60% range as it may spoil the forklift battery. It’s similar to throwing away a half-eaten sandwich. Charging your forklift battery at 50% can easily damage it and you will have to buy new replacements for your forklift.
If you need to use the forklift for the whole day, perhaps finish using the battery cycle first before switching in a new one. Just remember to not simply charge the battery when it’s only half-used.
The bottom line is that forklift battery maintenance isn’t as hard or complicated as some people think it to be. Our advice is that if you feel confused or are unsure of what to do with a forklift battery, feel free to find an experienced forklift repairman to ask. If you need any help with your forklift batteries, feel free to reach out to us.